We must all use due care when driving on public roadways. That means driving with a clear head, and paying attention to road conditions as we drive. Anything that interferes with the ability to drive safely can get us into trouble. This is especially true with intoxicants. Driving under the influence, or a DUI, can mean more trouble than that extra beer at a party. And if you are looking at a DUI third offense or more in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, you could be facing severe consequences. Here is what you need to know about a DUI third offense or more in Tahlequah.
DUI: It’s Not Just Alcohol
Ingesting any intoxicant, alcohol, drugs, even some medications that have been lawfully prescribed, and then driving afterward can open a person up to a DUI charge. Any substance that impairs your ability to drive safely can lead to a DUI charge.
Alcohol: When Is It Too Much?
In Oklahoma, it is against the law for a person to drive any motor vehicle:
- with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of .08% or higher;
- under the influence of alcohol;
- with any amount of a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance in their system;
- under the influence of any intoxicating substance other than alcohol which renders that person incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle; or
- under the combined influence of alcohol and another intoxicant which may render such person incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle.
Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 11-902
It doesn’t take much. Depending on height, weight, and the presence or absence of food in your system, one drink could be enough. And, in Oklahoma, any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in your system while driving can lead to a DUI charge. Schedule I substances include most opioids and hallucinogenics.
Penalties For DUI Third Offense Or More In Tahlequah
Penalties for driving under the influence are steep.
While a first DUI conviction is punishable by 10 days to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, a second conviction could subject you to up to 5 years in prison.
A third conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison in addition to fines. The crime is a felony in Tahlequah.
The court can also impose treatment, loss of one’s driver’s license, and other losses of rights and privileges, at its discretion. Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 11-902
While treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings may be recommended by the court for a first conviction, a defendant facing a third DUI conviction will most certainly be required to attend AA meetings or other substance abuse classes. If the defendant is sentenced to prison time, it is likely that these requirements will be carried out at the prison facility.
Finally, DUI convictions mean that your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked.
Possible DUI Defenses
If you are facing charges on a third DUI, talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There are defenses that may be available to you depending on your circumstances. Here are some of the more common defenses.
Faulty Testing Equipment: Tests are routinely challenged when the test is either faulty or the sample becomes contaminated. The field test may have been improperly calibrated or administered.
Improper Stop: If the officer lacked sufficient probable cause to make the initial traffic stop, then discovering that the driver was under the influence may be inadmissible in court. This is a common and somewhat technical defense that you should explore with your attorney.
BAC Was At Legal Limit: Say you have a strong drink and begin driving immediately thereafter. If you are pulled over and given a BAC test at the police station, it could be that your BAC was at the legal limit while you were driving, even if it was at an illegal limit at the station. This is because BAC levels continue to rise for a time before they drop. Again, this is a technical defense.
An Attorney Can Help
If you are facing a possible third DUI conviction, your attorney can be invaluable in building a strong defense and preserving your freedom. Any time you need to make a court appearance on a criminal matter, it is a good idea to have a Tahlequah attorney by your side.
Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer
Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you’ve been charged with DUI third offense or more in Tahlequah.
For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll free at 1-888-447-7262.
Or, if you prefer e-mail, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page and we’ll contact you by e-mail as soon as possible.